The ATP and WTA have confirmed no world ranking points will be earned at Wimbledon, in light of the All-England Club’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian competitors.
Wimbledon caused controversy when revealing it had taken the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the third major of the year on account of the invasion of Ukraine.
It is a move that puts them at odds with most other sporting events, and has divided opinion.
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Reports emerged that the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) was considering a range of measures, and the governing body has now confirmed no ranking points would be earned in SW19 this year - albeit the door has been left ajar for Wimbledon to change its stance.
In a statement, the ATP said: “The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour. The decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP Ranking system. It is also inconsistent with our Rankings agreement. Absent a change in circumstances, it is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP Ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022.
“Our rules and agreements exist in order to protect the rights of players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if unaddressed, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the Tour. Discrimination by individual tournaments is simply not viable on a Tour that operates in more than 30 countries.
“We greatly value our long-standing relationships with Wimbledon and the LTA and do not underestimate the difficult decisions faced in responding to recent UK Government guidance. However, we note that this was informal guidance, not a mandate, which offered an alternative option that would have left the decision in the hands of individual players competing as neutral athletes through a signed declaration.
"Our internal discussions with affected players in fact led us to conclude this would have been a more agreeable option for the Tour. We remain hopeful of further discussions with Wimbledon leading to an acceptable outcome for all concerned. More broadly, we believe this matter again highlights the need for a united governance structure across professional tennis so that decisions of this nature can be made in a joint manner.”
The ATP has confirmed Wimbledon warm-up events at Queen’s and Eastbourne would have ranking points available, as Russian and Belarusian players have alternative options during those weeks.
The statement continued: “Separately, as previously announced, we confirm that ranking points will remain at ATP Tour events at Queen’s (ATP 500), Eastbourne (ATP 250) and ATP Challenger events in the UK. We have taken this decision on the basis that alternative playing opportunities are open to Russian and Belarusian players in those weeks, unlike during Wimbledon, which minimises any impact on the integrity of the rankings. Sanctions related to LTA’s violation of ATP rules will be assessed separately.
“Our condemnation of Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine remains unequivocal. Immediate action was taken to suspend the ATP Tour event in Moscow and have Russian and Belarusian athletes compete under neutral flags on Tour. In parallel, we have continued our humanitarian support for Ukraine, together with the other governing bodies of tennis, as well as providing direct financial assistance to many affected players.”
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) followed suit shortly afterwards, with no ranking points available in its events.
“The stance we are taking is about protecting the equal opportunities that WTA players should have to compete as individuals,” read the statement.
“If we do not take this stance, then we abandon our fundamental principle and allow the WTA to become an example to support discrimination based on nationality at other events and in other regions around the world.”
Wimbledon is scheduled to get underway on June 27, with Novak Djokovic the defending champion in the men's singles.
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